Members: Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden, Ryan Dusick, James Valentine
Maroon 5 is a Grammy Award winning pop/rock band from Los Angeles, California, and has won several awards for their debut album Songs about Jane. Released in June 2002, the album enjoyed major chart success, going gold, platinum, and triple platinum in many countries around the world. Even their follow-up acoustic album 1.22.03.Acoustic, which features live, unplugged versions of Songs about Jane, has reached platinum status. The group won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2005. In the fall of 2005 they released a live record called "Live, Friday the 13th" which was recorded on May 13, 2005 in Santa Barbara, California and has earned them another Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 2006.
Adam Levine was first introduced to Maroon 5's drummer, Ryan Dusick, around 1986. The two were brought together once again by a mutual friend in 1990 to record a version of Knockin' on Heaven's Door in Dusick's garage.
On his first day at Brentwood School, Adam met the third member of Maroon 5, Mickey Madden. Adam is noted as describing Mickey as a "musical encyclopedia" and it is thought that Levine's influence played a major role in Madden acquiring his first bass guitar soon after. The two friends improvised, Madden taking up drums and Levine occasionally playing bass in their early jam sessions. (It should be noted that, in this era, Adam Levine played in front of his first audience in the band Blurred Vision at the Troubador. It was Adam Salzman's band; the mutual friend mentioned earlier).
The fourth member of the band is Jesse Carmichael. Jesse has a solid background in music, having had piano lessons since a very young age. When he and Adam first became friends, Carmichael was playing clarinet in the Brentwood School Orchestra. Levine and Carmichael began playing together while both students at the French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts. As freshmen in high school, the two formed the bond that would make them best friends to this day. Levine, Madden and Carmichael played their first show together as Edible Nuns at their Jr. High dance, playing only cover versions of nineties favorites such as Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.
As the trio progressed to high school, Edible Nuns drummer left the band. He was replaced by Amy Wood, a friend of one of the current members. Because the band was now made up of three guys and a girl, they settled on the name Mostly Men and began to play shows in the L.A. area. After their first experience of recording material, the guys decided that Amy was the weak link stalling their progress. She left the band and again the group was one drummer short.
Before long, Levine made use of his dormant connection with Ryan Dusick. The two had previously not acknowledged one-another around school as Dusick was two years older than the others and in a different world socially. The age gap did not cause problems for Maroon 5's young members as the musical chemistry between the group was evident.
Four members of Maroon 5 have known each other since attending junior high school together in Los Angeles. While attending Brentwood School, Levine and Carmichael hooked-up with Mickey Madden and Ryan Dusick to form Kara's Flowers, a garage/grunge band that played its first gig at the Whisky A Go-Go on September 16, 1995. (Adam Levine sang with a deeper "grunge" voice at this time.)
The band signed with Reprise Records while still in high school and released its only album The Fourth World in the middle of 1997 just as three of the four members were about to graduate (Ryan Dusick was completing his sophomore year at UCLA). A video was made for the opening track "Soap Disco", but it did not find success on MTV. Despite support slots on tours with Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger, the album failed to take off commercially and in 1999 the band parted company with Reprise Records. (Due to the later popularity of Maroon 5, more copies of The Fourth World were sold after Songs about Jane's release than during the years prior.)
After being released from Reprise Records, the four boys attended different colleges across the USA. They discovered new musical styles and developed a love for Motown, pop, R&B, soul, and gospel, experiences that would greatly influence the style and sound of Maroon 5. The four original members of Kara's Flowers remained in touch and started playing together again in 2001. Jesse Carmichael switched from guitar to keyboards, so a need arose for an additional guitarist. James Valentine, formerly with the band Square, joined them to fill that void.
FORMATION OF MAROON 5
When Valentine joined Kara's Flowers in 2001, the band adopted the name Maroon, changing it a few months later to Maroon 5 due to a name conflict. The band played showcase gigs in New York City and Los Angeles. Adam Levine credited the interim period with influencing the band's new style in an interview with VH1:
During the time between our record deals, I spent a lot of time in New York where I was exposed to an urban and hip-hop culture in a way that had never happened to me in L.A. It turned me on to an entirely new genre of music which has had a profound impact on my song writing.
The band signed with Octone Records, an independent record label in New York, with distribution through BMG and an artist development deal with Clive Davis' J Records. They also signed a global music publishing deal with BMG Music Publishing.
SONGS ABOUT JANE
The band recorded Songs about Jane at Rumbo Recorders in Los Angeles with producer Matt Wallace, who had also produced for Train, Blues Traveler, Kyle Riabko, and Third Eye Blind. Most of the material that wound up on Maroon 5's debut album was directly inspired by Levine's tumultuous relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Jane; "We were breaking up as the band entered the studio," he explains. "After compiling a song list, we decided to name the album Songs about Jane because it felt like the most honest statement we could make with the title."
The first single "Harder to Breathe" slowly started to pick up airplay which helped spur sales of the album. By March 2004, the album had reached the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 and "Harder to Breathe" had made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts. The album peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 in August 2004, 26 months after its release; this was the longest period between an album's release and its initial Top 10 appearance since SoundScan results were included in the Billboard 200 in 1991. Songs about Jane had also eventually made the Top 10 Australian albums charts while "Harder to Breathe" had made the Top 20 singles charts in the UK, and Top 40 in Australia and New Zealand. The album also eventually climbed to #1 in the UK and Australia. The second single "This Love" had also made the US and Australian Top 10 and even UK and Dutch Top 3 singles charts. The third single, "She Will Be Loved", reached the Top 5 in both the UK and the US, and went to #1 in Australia. The fourth single, "Sunday Morning", also reached the Top 40 in the US, UK, and Australia.
The music video for "This Love" featured lead singer Adam Levine and his then-girlfriend, model Kelly McKee, in extended sex scenes. The video used creative camera angles to show as much as possible without actually revealing any of the couple's private parts, thereby avoiding possible FCC action. A version of the video where a stream of computer-generated flowers cover up more, however, was made for more conservative markets, including parts of Latin America.
More steamy scenes appeared in the video for "She Will Be Loved", which featured a love triangle and sexual imagery involving Adam Levine and actress Kelly Preston, the wife of Hollywood superstar, John Travolta.
2002 - Songs about Jane
2004 - 1.22.03.Acoustic
2005 - Live - Friday The 13th
From Songs about Jane:
2003 - Harder to Breathe
2004 - This Love
2004 - She Will Be Loved
2004 - Sunday Morning
2005 - Must Get Out